Quality of our Students


On Sunday’s news our Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed asks us to stop pointing fingers toward the Government for the low quality of our students.

Well, that is actually a valid point, because we tend to point at ONE fault, and forget the others. I’ve always said anything that happens, happens for a group of reasons, one leading to the other. I call it Dominos’ Effect, or some may even heard it as Butterfly Effect, to some extent.

Government, or at least those whose making the decisions, actually failed to address many problems with a suitable solution. And to add salt to the wound, they have recently resort to short-term last minute actions, that is confusing the students, and putting them in greater pressure in order to excel.

Students, in their early years, have only one thing in mind, when it comes to excelence. Actually, it’s only one letter = A. The pursuit to obtain the most As have clouded many students’ minds on the importance of an actual knowledge of doing a task. The students felt that they are on the right track, when they managed to obtain As in exams, when it was actually thanks to spot questions, and last minute memorizing session.

It’s not a bad thing, to obtain and to pursue As in exams. But one must also excel in other aspects of life, which is in academical terms, co-curriculum.

MRSM (Maktab Rendah Sains MARA) is on the right track when they intoduce CGPAs early to their students. I remember a lecturer in my Matriculation, asking me to ask a MRSM student about CGPA if I want to know more. They, in a sense, are better prepared for Uni life, or at least, the marking scheme.

University students, in my opinion, have several major inhibitions from excellence. Among the biggest, is time management, laziness, finance, focus, and maturity. Let’s go about these one by one.

Time management, is crucial for a student to excel in several fields at once. Only with proper time management, that a student can find time to go to class, study, do assignments, do won research, socialize, do sports, and so on and so forth. A student with proper time management, have already have one foot in being an excellent student.

You may not see them dragging books all day long, even when it’s near exam. They still have time to go to town, play sports, date, watch movies, or even go clubbing, yet finishes the assignments on time, if not before, and answers the exam question with ease. They are easily spotted near exam periods, by being relaxed, and behaves as usual. But don’t confuse them with those lazy ones, or the lazy geniuses.

University students are generally labeled as being lazy, and not without reasons. Just look at their appearance, their rooms, and their quality of work. Not all are lazy, but most are lazy about on thing or the other. Even the ones with proper time management, may be lazy to do their laundy, or the geniuses, lazy to do their assignments.

Some may say that there’s no lazy person in the world, just that they are preferring to do something else. That, my dear readers, is another story.

The problem with being lazy, is that the things that you are lazy to do, or not interested in, are the things you might have to do while working. As an example, I was lazy to do diagrams, and so I made a choice of doing a 3D animation for my Final Year Project, since developing a system would need a bezillion diagrams and reports. As a result, it seems that I would have a better job prospect should I chose to develop a system, and the pay are better. Not to say being a 3D animator do not pay as well as a programmer, it’s just that I’m not that good enough to have a pay as high as what I would have as a programmer.

As a student, we have almost no financial income, but from our contributors, such as our parents/guardians, loans, and others. Some, may have the time to work part time, in the campus itself, out somewhere else. Financial problem had often cause students to lose focus on study, and starts finding means of stress releases. Most of these means, however, diverted the students from their primary goal of entering University (if any), and starts them on a downward slope of blissful ignorance.

As aforementioned, focus is one thing that students always manage to lose, and then lose more. Being insecured, handling all those hormones (the Malays especially, since their raging hormones tend to last longer, it seems), cultural shock, homesickness, and financial problems. These are just some of the problems faced by a normal student. Focus is only obtainable, for those who managed to segment their thoughts on certain matters at certain times. As an example, those who limits their love problems outside the class, but focuses on the assignment at hand.

Now, as I mentioned earlier about the raging hormones and all, there’s a huge difference in sense of thinking and appearance, between those who’s matured and those who’s not. The matured, knows how much difference a little sacrifice in sense of fun and style, for the sake of his/her future. For those in the business field, they took this time to sharpen their businees ethics, and communication skills, including business-friendly attires.

For the technical side, where attires are not as important as skills, they took this time to hone their skills to as high as they could, by doing personal projects, or doing freelance. They would sacrifice a little of their fun life, in the name of adding strong portfolios in their resume. You see, although many companies ask for work experiences, experience doing a related project during Uni days are also a bonus. More over if the project is of commercial quality. At least that’s waht I look for when I was interviewing candicates.

So, I’d like to reiterate, that although the Government is not the only party at fault in the decline in the quality of our Uni students, they do play a vital role in the student’s early years. Uni students and the parents, however, should not rest all responsibility on the Government. They should realize how we are facing difficulties in getting a decent job, and even more so by being a low-quality graduate.

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6 responses to “Quality of our Students”

  1. Lynn : Thesis? or was it a kerja khusus in a better term?

    But while many MRSM students managed to pursue their studies overseas, those left in local Unis are not that better from those from normal schools, but some are even worse. The same goes to SBP’s, State foundation’s (such as your’s truly), and other “top class” schools?

  2. No, it was a real thesis, or a glorified ‘kerja kursus’ for that matter.

    And I agree that being in any ‘top’ school doesn’t make you any better in Uni. It’s a level playing field out there.

  3. Blame our society for producing low-quality students. Parents here (and in Singapore) only know how to speak in terms of A’s. They don’t care if their kid is truly learning to think and analyze and infer. Only A’s matter. Nothing else. The real world demands thinkers, and straight A’s students who got their A’s through mugging and memorization will find it hard to survive in a competitive and innovative environment 🙂

  4. lynn : well, kerja khusus is a preparation for thesis writing, sans the colorful cover and decorations!hehe

    sophia : Not only here, but I believe the whole Asian, or at least that’s what we’re labeled as. Asian parents have been thought to have a strict “straight A or else” policy all over the world, so the clueless child could do nothing more…

  5. hmph. the govt contradict themselves. they say we need more well-rounded students, but their actions tend to indicate otherwise. funding always go the wrong places.

    i think parents play a huge role in deciding which direction their children should take. but by the time we crawl the way up as “mahasiswa” we should all be able to decide for ourselves if we want to excel in studies, and earn other soft skills on top of that.

    it’s fabulous how u know ALL the kinds of people there are on a uni campus.